Rand Paul Calls to Sunset War Authorizations

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On Tuesday, the day after the 20-year anniversary of the Iraq War, Sen. Rand Paul introduced an amendment to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

The 2001 AUMF was used to enable the U.S. to go into Afghanistan after 9/11. An earlier 1991 AUMF was used to implement the Gulf War. The 2002 AUMF was used by the U.S. to invade Iraq.

These authorizations all remain open-ended even though those missions have been completed. Being still open, various presidents in both parties have claimed these authorizations allow them to strike or wage wars in other places, a power the Executive was never given in the Constitution. The Constitution’s Article I, Section 8 specifically lists as a power of Congress the power “to declare War,” which unquestionably gives the legislature the power to initiate hostilities.

Most people agree, at minimum, that the Declare War Clause grants Congress an exclusive power. That is, Presidents cannot, on their own authority, declare war. “War is sometimes necessary, but going to war should not be the decision of one person,” the senator has sais=d. “Ending congressional authorization for the Gulf war, Iraq war and Afghanistan war returns the war power to the American people and their representatives.” (Based Politics)